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Kerry unloads on NBC after report he was overheard talking about 2020 bid

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 19:38

"A complete and total misinterpretation," the former secretary of State fumes.


Joe Biden Could Be Impeached by GOP Over Ukraine if He Wins, Iowa Senator Says

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 19:05

(Bloomberg) -- Iowa Senator Joni Ernst warned Sunday that Republicans could immediately push to impeach Joe Biden over his work in Ukraine as vice president if he win the White House.“I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened,” Ernst said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”The grounds for impeachment, the first-term Republican said, would be “for being assigned to take on Ukrainian corruption yet turning a blind eye to Burisma because his son was on the board making over a million dollars a year.”President Barack Obama sent Biden to Ukraine on his behalf to fight corruption, including leading the push from the U.S. and western European powers to remove prosecutor general Viktor Shokin from office. When Shokin was fired in 2016, no congressional Republicans expressed concern about the move. Eventually, though, Shokin began to argue that he was fired because he was investigating Burisma and Biden wanted to protect his son, Hunter, who was on the company’s board. The claim has been debunked.Biden told a Sinclair news reporter in Iowa that her words reinforced his argument that Trump’s interest in Ukraine was meant to damage his candidacy.“Doesn’t that make the case I’m making that from the very beginning that this was all about not wanting to run against me?” he said.Earlier this week, Ernst tied the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to Biden’s chances in Monday’s Iowa Democratic caucus, suggesting that the trial could hurt his case with caucus goers. “I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point? Not certain at that,” she said.Biden has been sure to mention Ernst’s comments during every stump speech he’s made this week, drawing applause as he suggests that Ernst had “spilled the beans” about Republicans’ real intention in raising the Burisma issue to damage Biden’s candidacy. “You can ruin Donald Trump’s night by caucusing with me and ruin Joni Ernst’s night as well,” he’s told Iowa crowds this week.Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield responded to Ernst’s latest comments by again encouraging Iowans to caucus for Biden. “Iowans have the chance tomorrow to say the words that Donald Trump and Joni Ernst fear most: I’m here to caucus for Joe Biden,” she said.(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)(Updates with Biden comment in fifth, sixth paragraphs)To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Epstein in Des Moines, Iowa at jepstein32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


UK vows action after police kill 'convicted extremist' in terror stabbing

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 17:45

The British government promised sweeping changes to the system for dealing with convicted terrorists released from prison, after police shot dead an Islamist extremist who stabbed two people in a busy south London street on Sunday. Police said Sudesh Amman, 20, who was wearing a fake suicide vest, was shot on the busy Streatham High Road packed with shoppers at about 2:00 pm (1400 GMT). Amman was recently given early release from prison where he was serving time for terror offences.


What I learned watching Andrew Yang barnstorm rural Iowa

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 17:13

He's a changed candidate from even a month ago.


America is Making a Bad Bet on India

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 17:06

America is dangerously emboldening India’s Hindu nationalist government as it nears the point of no return. Modi, whose term ends in 2024, could be succeeded by someone far more extreme.


Bolivia's Morales says he wants to go home, run for Senate

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 16:45

Exiled former Bolivian president Evo Morales said in an interview published Sunday that he wants to return home and run for senator in May elections. Morales fled the country in December after the army withdrew its support for him during violent protests over his disputed re-election to a fourth straight term. Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, was in power for almost 14 years.


Appeal of man who shot Army recruiters in Arkansas rejected

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 16:34

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man who fatally shot a U.S. Army soldier and wounded another outside a recruiting station in Little Rock. The ruling dated Thursday and first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said Abdulhakim Muhammad's appeal is without merit. Muhammad, 34, was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to the 2009 fatal shooting of Pvt.


DHS: New screening to begin amid coronavirus concerns

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 16:31

As the U.S. steps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Homeland Security is warning airline passengers that their flights may wind up rerouted if officials discover mid-flight that someone onboard has been in China in the last 14 days. Under the new rules, U.S. citizens who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be re-routed to one of eight designated airports, where they will undergo enhanced health screening procedures. The eight are: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Chicago O’Hare International Airport; San Francisco International Airport; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport; Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu; Los Angeles International Airport in California; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; and Washington-Dulles International Airport in Virginia.


Al-Qaida in Yemen claims deadly Florida naval base shooting

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 15:31

Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen claimed responsibility Sunday for last year's deadly shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola by an aviation student from Saudi Arabia. The shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was a member of the Saudi Air Force in training at the base. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, released a video claiming the attack.


Senators will vote Wednesday to acquit or convict Trump: What we know

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 15:09

Senators decided against allowing additional testimony and set the stage for a final vote Wednesday.


A US national security adviser says 'there is no reason for Americans to panic' about coronavirus as report claims second US plane heads to China to evacuate more Americans from Wuhan

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 15:08

A second plane is on the way to evacuate US citizens still in Wuhan in China as the death toll from coronavirus continues to rise.


Ukraine wants larger compensation for its citizens killed in plane shootdown in Iran

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 14:19

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Kiev was not satisfied with a size of compensation Iran had offered to families of Ukrainians killed in the downing of a plane near Tehran last month and would seek larger payments. The airliner was struck by a missile on Jan. 8 shortly after it left Tehran en route to Kiev. Iran admitted its forces had shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane in error, after initially denying it had a role in the incident.


Saudi Arabia blocks Iran from Islamic grouping's meeting: Tehran

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 12:31

Saudi Arabia has barred an Iranian delegation from an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Jeddah on Monday where U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan will be discussed, the Iranian foreign ministry said. Saudi authorities have not issued visas for the Iranian participants, ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. "The government of Saudi Arabia has prevented the participation of the Iranian delegation in the meeting to examine the 'deal of the century' plan at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation," Mousavi said, the Fars news agency reported.


Klobuchar Vows to Fight On, Says No Deal With Biden’s Campaign

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 12:26

(Bloomberg) -- Democrat Amy Klobuchar vowed to battle on for the 2020 Democratic nomination even as her support lags and said she hasn’t made a deal to work in concert with Joe Biden’s campaign in Iowa.The senator from Minnesota made her pitch on “Fox News Sunday,” a day before the state’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest. She said she’s one of two presidential hopefuls from the middle of the U.S., and has been elected in the past by appealing to moderate Republicans and independents as well as Democrats.“I’m going to New Hampshire no matter what,” Klobuchar said, referring to the state that will hold the next nominating contest, on Feb. 11.“I’ve got the endorsements of every major paper in New Hampshire, including the [Manchester] Union Leader, that have endorsed,” she said. “And so of course I’m going there; we have a strong operation there.”Klobuchar, 59, has been traversing Iowa all weekend. She and fellow Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are taking advantage of the break in Trump’s impeachment trial to campaign in the state after being mostly absent for two weeks.The Iowa caucus results could make or break her campaign. She, Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg are banking on strong performances in the state to catapult them forward through the primary season.Former Vice President Biden and Sanders still far outpace their competitors in national polls.The RealClearPolitics average of Iowa polls shows Klobuchar ranked fifth with 8.8%, below the threshold that would let her pick up delegates. She’s had support as high as 13% in some surveys.Klobuchar said she hadn’t, as has been reported, come to an arrangement with Biden’s campaign for her supporters in the caucuses to switch to Biden if she falls short of the 15% threshold required in each precinct.“No deals,” she said. “I am just focused on our own race here.”To contact the reporter on this story: Ana Monteiro in Washington at amonteiro4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Adam Schiff Blasts Republican Senators for Scolding Trump's Ukraine Scheme While Letting Him Slide

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 12:12

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Sunday chastised Republican senators who claimed to be bothered by President Donald Trump’s Ukrainian actions as they voted against impeachment witnesses, saying it doesn’t do justice to the president’s behavior to merely call it “inappropriate.”Appearing on CBS News’ Face the Nation, the House Intelligence Committee chairman was asked what the impeachment trial had accomplished as the Senate is poised to acquit Trump after voting against hearing from witnesses about his actions. “What's remarkable is you now have Republican senators coming out and saying, yes, the House proved its case,” Schiff told host Margaret Brennan. “The House proved the corrupt scheme that they charged in the articles of impeachment. The president did withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from an ally to try to coerce that ally into helping him cheat in the next election. That's pretty remarkable when you now have senators on both sides of the aisle admitting the House made its case.”Schiff went on to say that the Senate now needs to move to the next step and find the president guilty and remove him from office since he’s “threatening to still cheat in the next election by soliciting foreign interference,” prompting Brennan to note the votes aren’t there for that to happen.“As you said, Senators Rubio, Alexander, Portman have all said in some way or another they found the actions of the president inappropriate, but not enough to oust him,” she added. “So the bottom line here seems to be that the president will get away with what they're calling inappropriate. What are Democrats going to do? What do you do next?”“Well, first of all, to call solicitation, coercion, blackmail of a foreign power, an ally at war, by withholding military aid to get help in cheating in the next election merely inappropriate, doesn't begin to do justice to the gravity of this president's misconduct,” Schiff answered. “Misconduct that I think undermined our national security as well as that of our ally and threatens the integrity—the integrity of our elections.”The California Democrat further noted that he’s “not letting the senators off the hook” for not acting against Trump even though they’ve acknowledged his behavior was wrong, saying he’s still going to make the case Trump needs to be removed.“It will be up to the senators to make that final judgment and the senators will be held accountable for it,” he stated.To Schiff’s point, GOP senators appeared on the Sunday news shows and attempted to have it both ways by arguing that Trump behaved inappropriately with his Ukraine pressure scheme but that it isn’t an impeachable offense. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who voted against calling additional witnesses last week despite saying Trump made an “error in judgment,” told Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd that Trump’ Shouldn’t have done it” and “it was wrong” but that Trump’s fate should be left to the ballot box and “the people.” The conservative senator also confirmed that he’d vote to acquit the president.On CNN’s State of the Union, meanwhile, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said that the president acted inappropriately but that she would inevitably vote to clear Trump of all charges.“He's done it now,” she told anchor Jake Tapper. “The president has a lot of latitude to do what he wants to do. Again, not what I have done, but certainly, again, going after corruption, Jake...Maybe not the perfect call.”After Tapper wondered aloud what she meant by saying it was something she wouldn't have done, Ernst added: “He did it—he did it maybe in the wrong manner… But I think he could have done it through different channels. Now, this is the argument, is that he should have probably gone to the DOJ. He should have worked through those entities, but he chose to go a different route.”Senate Republicans weren’t the only ones trying to thread the needle on Sunday regarding the president’s Ukrainian actions. Trump defense team member Alan Dershowitz, who argued last week that Trump could engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine since his re-election is in the “public interest” and he has “mixed motives,” conceded on Fox News Sunday that the pressure campaign could be “troubling.”“On Election Day as a citizen I will allow that to enter into my decision,” he told host Chris Wallace when asked if he was troubled by the allegations. “Of course any citizen would find that troubling if it were proved, troubling is not the criteria for impeachment.”“If a president linked aid to an ally to personal benefit that was not in the public interest, that would be wrong, that would be a reason for him not to vote for him,” Dershowitz added.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs Was Great for Bacteria

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 12:00

The asteroid moved 24 times faster than a rifle bullet as it struck Earth some 66 million years ago. Its supersonic shock wave flattened trees across North and South America, and its heat wave sparked incomprehensibly large forest fires.The event lofted so much debris into the atmosphere that photosynthesis shut down. The nonavian dinosaurs disappeared. And nearly 75% of all species were extinguished.At the point of impact, the picture was even more dire. The space rock left a sterile crater nearly 20 miles deep in what is now the Gulf of Mexico. Not a single living thing could have survived.But even at ground zero, life managed to return, and quickly.New findings published in the journal Geology last week revealed that cyanobacteria -- blue-green algae responsible for harmful toxic blooms -- moved into the crater a few years after the impact. That's the blink of an eye, geologically speaking, and helps illuminate how life bounces back on Earth following cataclysmic events, even in the most devastated environments.In 2016, scientists drilled into the heart of the so-called Chicxulub crater and excavated a 2,750-foot-long core of sediments, allowing scientists all over the world, such as Bettina Schaefer of Curtin University in Australia, to parse the rocks for their own research.Those samples have answered a number of questions regarding the impact, but Schaefer wanted to better understand how life rebounded at ground zero. Although scientists had seen hints of early life before, the numbers were small and couldn't capture the entire picture.The issue is that not all microorganisms leave behind fossils. Instead, soft-bodied organisms can be identified by the burrows they make and the molecules they deposit. Cyanobacteria, for example, produce fats that can be preserved in sedimentary rocks for hundreds of millions of years.So when Schaefer's team saw those preserved fats in the core near the time of the impact, they knew cyanobacteria must have been present. Crucially, the fats were deposited atop a layer of fossilized plants that were washed into the crater by the tsunami that followed, but below another layer of iridium that was deposited once the debris in the atmosphere rained back down on Earth after a few years. That suggests the bacteria began to populate the crater after the tsunami hit but before the atmosphere cleared and the sun's light had fully returned."The ones that were able to move in right away, the ambulance chasers, if you will, were these cyanobacteria," said Sean P.S. Gulick, a marine geophysicist from the University of Texas at Austin, a scientist on the drilling expedition and Schaefer's co-author.Moreover, the team was able to detect a host of other organisms that arrived on the scene later, which helped to better characterize the toxic waters that pooled in the crater. Some of the molecular fossils they discovered, for example, can only originate from organisms that live in waters devoid of any oxygen -- a so-called dead zone similar to what occurs every summer in the contemporary Gulf of Mexico.Chris Lowery, a paleoceanographer at the University of Texas at Austin and an author of the recent study, suspects that the crater was only partially dead, in part because the team also saw evidence for fossils of plankton that rely on oxygen. Perhaps the crater's oxygen-depleted waters existed within only certain layers of its water column. Or, like the dead zone in the modern gulf, maybe those waters were only seasonal.Knowing that life thrived in the Chicxulub crater while it was still fresh could help scientists better understand how living things adapt to catastrophe today, said Jason Sylvan, an oceanographer at Texas A&M University who was not involved in the study.Climate change has raised temperatures, depleted oxygen and acidified waters in the world's oceans. But scientists remain unsure how microbial communities -- which help control the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere -- will respond.To better forecast our future, they will continue to dig up fossils of the past -- particularly those from one of the greatest extinctions on Earth.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


Second person linked to butterfly sanctuary found dead in Mexico

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 11:57

The body of a tour guide who worked at a famous butterfly reserve in Mexico has been discovered two days after a prominent monarch butterfly activist was found dead.Mexican authorities said they are investigating the possible murder of Raul Hernandez, whose body was found beaten and with a head injury possibly caused by a sharp object.


Turkish military convoy crosses into rebel-held NW Syria

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 11:18

A large Turkish military convoy rumbled into rebel-held areas of northwest Syria on Sunday, witnesses on the ground and activists said. Separately, airstrikes on a rebel-held village in Syria's northwest killed at least seven people, opposition activists said. Elsewhere, rebel shelling killed a woman and wounded at least three journalists, Syrian state TV reported.


Thailand sees apparent success treating virus with drug cocktail

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 11:14

A Chinese woman infected with the new coronavirus showed a dramatic improvement after she was treated with a cocktail of anti-virals used to treat flu and HIV, Thailand's health ministry said Sunday. The 71-year-old patient tested negative for the virus 48 hours after Thai doctors administered the combination, doctor Kriengsak Attipornwanich said during the ministry's daily press briefing. The news comes as the new virus claimed its first life outside China -- a 44-year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines -- while the death toll in China has soared above 300.


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